Yellowstone Notebook Booklist
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CAMPING OUT IN THE YELLOWSTONE, 1882, by Mary Bradshaw Richards (University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1994),
edited by William W. Slaughter.
In 1882, the memory of the flight of the Nez Perces through Yellowstone was still fresh in the minds of many. The military era and
age of the grand park hotels and coaching tours was about to begin. Total attendance at the park for 1882 was 1,000. In August of
that year, Mary Bradshaw Richards and her husband Jesse traveled from their home in New York City to Yellowstone for a
nine-day camping tour of the park. A series of letters sent to the Boston Observer led to the 1910 publication of Mary Bradshaw
Richard's Camping Out in the Yellowstone (Newcomb and Gauss, Salem, MA, 1910). In this 1994 reprinting, editor William W.
Slaughter adds footnotes explaining lesser-known people and places mentioned in the travelog.
With the assistance of a driver and cook from the Bassett brothers outfitters, Mary Richards and her husband traveled and
camped throughout the park. Included in the book are accounts of Norris Geyser Basin, the Firehole and Gibbon Rivers,
Mammoth Hot Springs, Monument Geyser Basin, Mud Volcano, the Lower and Upper Falls, and finally the Upper Geyser Basin.
Along the way, the travelers encounter a government survey party, Yellowstone legend Jack Baronett, and a handful of other
The 1994 edition includes an introduction giving background information on the Williams family and a concise history of
Yellowstone up to the time of their visit. This edition is 108 pages long and includes black and white historical photographs from
the archives of the Church of the Latter Day Saints. Also included are a reproduction of an 1882 advertisement for the Bassett
Brothers outfitters and a map showing camping spots and places where letters were written. The book is written in a
conversational style, without the Victorian excesses of some accounts of the period, and can be read quickly in one or two
DANGEROUS GROUND by Gloria Skurzynski (Bradbury Press, New York, 1989). [Juvenile fiction]
Dangerous Ground, though written primarily for younger readers, tells a surprisingly well-structured story that is thoroughly
researched, working details into the narrative that only someone familiar with the park and its workings would know. The author
centers the story on a young woman's struggle with the inevitability of leaving her Wyoming school and friends behind to move
with her parents to another state. Also central to the story is her fear that her favorite aunt, with whom she is staying temporarily, is
succumbing to Alzheimer's disease. Over the course of the Memorial Day weekend, her aunt takes her on an unplanned day trip
that ultimately ends up at Yellowstone. While there, she is a helpless witness to her aunt's increasingly bizarre behavior, which
results in an unplanned overnight stay, interaction with park authorities, and ultimately a move toward resolution of the two central
issues of the book.
Anyone working with junior high school age students or who knows a young person who is struggling with the problems this
student is facing might benefit from reading this book and making it available. Strictly considering the merits of the story it tells,
Dangerous Ground is an engaging book that treats Yellowstone not as a magic place where people go to escape their problems,
but a very real place where very real people go--perhaps to find just enough change of scene to give them a new outlook on the
problems they must face.
Dangerous Ground is 152 pages long, and is not illustrated.
DEATH IN YELLOWSTONE by Lee H. Whittlesey (Roberts Rinehart, Boulder, CO, 1995).
This book by Yellowstone Park historian Lee Whittlesey is carefully written, factual, and manages to avoid sensationalism. The
author remains sensitive to the victims and survivors when recounting these many incidents of human tragedy in Yellowstone. At
the same time, he manages to keep the tone interesting and rarely morbid. The book's twenty-five chapters are organized into
categories such as bears attacks, drownings, accidents involving thermal features, murders, and even death by falling trees. We
read of sometimes bizarre incidents from the park's early years to the present, such as the woman who fell into the swift current
of the Yellowstone River to be swept over the Upper Falls and later the Lower Falls. At other times the stories are painfully sad
such as the boy in the 1970s who slid into the scalding waters of Crested Pool near Castle Geyser as his parents stood
helplessly nearby, or the more recent incident of a young park employee whose burns from a scalding pool in the Shoshone
Geyser basin left him to die slowly and painfully one winter night as his companions struggled to help and comfort him.
By relating these true stories, Whittlesey uses these unfortunate incidents to reinforce the importance of obeying park
regulations and always keeping in mind the power and unpredictability of nature, especially in Yellowstone. Perhaps this book is
not for everyone, but many have found it hard to put down and consider it one of the more fascinating books written about the park.
Death in Yellowstone (subtitled Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park) is 259 pages long, including notes, with
several mostly small black and white photographs and illustrations throughout. At the end are four appendices with information
on grave sites in and near Yellowstone. Since this book first appeared, there have been numerous deaths in Yellowstone equally
as bizarre and tragic as those described here, and one is reminded that this is a story that will have no end as long as humans
and the forces of nature continue to interact at Yellowstone.
GUARDIANS OF YELLOWSTONE: An Intimate Look at the Challenges of Protecting America's Foremost Wilderness Park by
Dan R. Sholly with Steven M. Newman (Morrow, New York, 1991).
Dan R. Sholly was Yellowstone's chief ranger from 1985-1998. In Guardians of Yellowstone, he relates in detail many of his
experiences in the park during the eventful years of 1985-1990, often commenting on the larger issues surrounding them. The
book is co-written by Steven M. Newman, an author distinguished in his own right for his travel writings and 4-year walking tour
around the world. Included among the many stories in Guardians of Yellowstone are details of William Tesinsky's deadly
encounter with a Grizzly bear, an Earth First! blockade protest at Fishing Bridge, the tragic death of Snow Lodge employee John
Williams after falling into a scalding thermal pool near Shoshone Lake, and a hostage incident at the Old Faithful Visitor Center.
But one of the book's greatest claims to a distinctive place in the great sea of Yellowstone literature might be the author's account
of his role in the park's handling of the fires of 1988. Sholly was responsible for making or influencing many of the sometimes
controversial decisions effecting Yellowstone's fire policies--and in this book he speaks openly about the events of the summer
of 1988, and the reasons for the decisions that were made.
Sholly's term as Yellowstone's chief ranger ended in early 1998. It is fortunate he documented these insights into the everyday
life and challenges of a park ranger. This is a riveting book, perhaps partly because of the writing skills of co-author Newman,
and in the opinion of this reviewer has earned a permanent place on the Yellowstone bookshelf..
Guardians of Yellowstone is 317 pages long, with two photo insert sections.
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We had a most lovely camp that night on the edge of a prairie, in a little cozy grassy bay that indented the
forest shores. The sun sank in a quiet sky; the stars shone clear, bright, and steady with unwavering light;
the universe rested and was at peace. The wind talked to the trees, and the pines in answer bowed their
stately heads, and with a sigh of melancholy swept their gloomy branches to and fro. All through the night
the mysterious music of the distant falls rose and fell upon the breeze--sometimes borne up distinct and
clear, a mighty roar and crash of waters; then sinking to an almost inaudible hum like the tremulous
vibration of a mighty but remote harp-string.
Earl of Dunraven THE GREAT DIVIDE
It is a fabulous country, the only fabulous country; it is the one place where miracles not only happen,
but where they happen all the time.